Lakeland 50

Friday evening at Coniston was nice and relaxed. We met up with our friends Anna and Marcis and had something to eat from the food stall, we sat on the grass and ate. The sun was shining and it was very humid. There was hint of excitement and nerves in the air , we walked up from the start to the bridge that the Lakeland 100 runners would cross to cheer them all on. We saw them through the gate and off they went in a huge conga line.

Ian was shouting at his friend Scott “104 miles to go” luckily Scott took it in good spirit and gave Ian the finger.

Back down the hill, I went to register as quick as I could cause I just wanted to get back to the BnB to relax and get my pyjamas on. I spotted a woman I knew from Instagram (Angela) and she was stood talking someone else I knew from Instagram (Steve) we said some hellos and I went off to register. The queue took forever, I spoke to a nice woman in the queue (Michelle) who took my mind off being nervous. I got checked in and joined the next queue for kit check, I had all my kit in a shopping bag instead of packed away in my pack, they want to see all of your kit – not just randomly selected stuff. The next table was for collecting your race number pack, which had a buff, car sticker, chia charge bar and a mountain fuel gel in. Off to the next station where it was time to get weighed, the dread. Clearly I’d eaten a lot cause there was an extra kg on that scale! The next station was getting my tracker attached to my pack and getting talked through how to use it in an emergency. Lastly I got my picture taken – it was getting real.

Back to the BnB, bag packed, pyjamas on and lights out.

7:30am alarm, up and dressed. We went down for breakfast which was served at 8am. I ordered some scrambled egg on toast.

I didn’t fancy getting the coach to the start as I get travel sickness so Ian was taking me to Dalemain after breakfast. We parked up and went to the portaloos before the buses arrived. Cheered some Lakeland 100 runners in and I went back to the car to change my shoes and stay out of the rain. Ian saw on the tracker that his friend Mike was in Dalemain so he went to see how he was doing.

By now the buses had started to roll in, Ian came back to the car and we decided we should go wait in the toilet queue again as it was getting long.

Time to go into the starting pen, 15 minutes to go.

For the 4 mile loop round the estate you are allowed a family member or friend to run with you, I decided against that cause I thought Ian would just run me too fast. We had ACDC Thunderstruck playing and then a countdown from 10, as soon as we got to GO time the sky opened up and it was just heavy ran for the full 4 miles. I was okay with it. It was really humid so it was actually nice. Coming back through the estate I was looking out for Ian as he said he would see me again there, spotted him hiding under an umbrella and shouted on him.

Ran through here about 40 minutes in and off I went to Pooley Bridge. I was breaking the race into small sections at this point. Pooley Bridge was next on my list, it was still raining. I hadn’t cracked open my poles yet as I thought I’d use them for the big hill (Fusedale) out of Howtown.

I hiked it up the hill out of Pooley Bridge, felt good so I just went with it while I had it. Once I was up the hill I ran the whole way to Howtown, I like that section as you can run it cause its mostly downhill.

Howtown was nice to get to. I filled my bottles up, grabbed a bag of crips and pick ‘n’ mix, such a good idea. Scoffed a bit of flapjack and had 2 cups of coke. On the walk out I ate the crisps as I knew I needed something salty. Chatted to a guy who was also on his first LL50, he was asking about poles and we laughed about how people were moaning on facebook about them.

Heading towards Fusedale, I was not looking forward to this. On the recce weekend I hated it, race day I still hated it. Took me ages to get up, I felt like a snail. I still hadn’t put my waterproof yet and I was debating to put it on for the top but I was actually fine, it was still humid up there and I just aimed to get up and over as quick as I could. I could here loud chatting behind me, one guy came by and said “hes not shut up this whole way” I just laughed cause he must have been so annoyed. Clung onto another runner so that I didnt get lost over the top his name was Andy and he had done the race a few times he said to keep someone in view.

The downhill was alright, then the paths turned into just mud slides. I was whooping and screaming going down the mud trying not to slip and fall over. My shoes became like skates just sliding along in the mud and I was using my poles like I was skiing haha!

Along the rocky path, it was hard to run along here. I was following a woman in front called Sarah, she was running at a nice pace so I just stuck behind her and followed her steps. Eventually came into Mardale Head. I messed about a lot at this check point. I got a cup of tea here and a ham sandwich. Went to the loo then went for a cup of coke, couple of sweets and put my waterproof on cause I had hung about so much I was getting cold. Spotted Steve that I follow on Instagram. Gave him a wave and had a chat about how he was getting on. He had a goal in mind of coming in under 16 hours so he could get into LL100. I still felt okay so I thought I could run with him until he runs off, I said I was getting ready to go up the hill and he said he would come too. I got another tea to walk out with and he got a coffee. Off we went up the hill, forgot it was a steep one but I felt okay going up this one. Finally hit the top and the rain started again! Glad I had put my waterproof on so I didn’t have to stop again. We ran along the top before it comes to a good downhill, I like the downhill here it goes on forever and down to a bridge that you cross and go through a farm area theres a few bumpy hills and over some stiles before hitting Kentmere. We chatted about Instagram politics and some of the ridiculousness that goes on – an eye opener. We chatted about what got us into running and races we’d like to do, the miles passed quickly.

Got to Kentmere, I was so excited as it was the Disney themed checkpoint. There was a guy dressed as Woody and a Mad Hatter. This is where Steve said he also liked Disney and told me he had his honeymoon there, amazed by this I shouted “I got married there”. Bonding!

We went in and they were playing “I can go the distance” from Hercules. I love this song, and it fitted in so well with the timing.

I’ll be there someday, I can go the distance
I will find my way if I can be strong
I know every mile would be worth my while
When I go the distance, I’ll be right where I belong

Stuck in my head for ages!

In here I got some pasta as it was dinner time. I got the pasta and realised I put my Spork or Foon (whatever you’d like to call it) in my pack away, thinking I wouldn’t use it. So I used my fingers hahaha looked around and notice most people probably done the same as me cause they were also using their fingers!! None of us cared. Finished my pasta, got some more coke and sweets. I clocked some watermelon, scoffed a couple of slices of that. Said to Steve I was ready to go, we got tea and coffee for the walk out again. We chatted about Disney loads, all our trips out there, favourite rides and princesses.

Here came the hill out of Kentmere, took ages to get up it. I had to stop a few times for a breather and Steve carried on chatting which took my mind of it. I knew once I was up the hill I would be fine cause I like the downhill from here into Troutbeck and then it would be Ambleside!

Running over the top the rain started again, it was hard work. The down the hill was good even though it’s all like slate stones you run down. It’s so uneven underfoot. Then I noticed a dog and a pair of long legs, it was Sarah my coach! She was on her way up to see me. Sarah and Quila ran down with me and Steve, Quila picking up her stick that Sarah said she had planked on the way up. She asked how I was, I said I felt good and was looking forward to Ambleside to see Ian. She told me to make sure I got some more food at Ambleside and that there was some special guests waiting with Ian at Ambleside. They were drenched and went off home to get dry!

There was people waiting at Troubeck to see the runners which was nice they cheered us on. Up at the top of the hill at Troutbeck, I had to double take – there was 3 people in cow costumes! Amazing! Loved it, they made me smile so much. Apparently last year they were ducks, it was perfect weather for ducks the rain was still coming down. Finally into the woods on the way to Ambleside, I text Ian to say where I was. Coming through the town people were cheering which was so nice, very overwhelming!

Ian said he would be waiting near the chip shop and I spotted him so I started waving. I noticed the Special Guests were Anna and Marcis with an addition of Ted the dog!

They ran with us into the checkpoint, there was Sabina to give me a hug. She smelled amazing, cause I was stinking! Let’s face it 8 hours of being damp, of course I didnt smell like Rose’s.

Steve met his friend Molly, who had come through for the race to cheer him on. She was lovely and gave some motivational chat.

Went upstairs in to the checkpoint I got some soup here but couldnt finish it all, I got another ham sandwich and forced it down. 2 cups of coke and 2 cups of tea and off we went into the darkness.

Head torch ready!

The climb out of Ambleside I’ve done a few times so I knew what was to come. I made sure I knew the whole secton off by heart cause it was going to be in the dark. Trying my best to hold off putting my head torch on. Got to the second gate and it was time to put it on. Nice down hill to the post box and then down again to Skelwith Bridge where Ian and Molly were waiting again to see us and give us some chat. I wasnt really in the mood for chatting. 40 miles of feeling good, I did wonder when I would start to feel shit and here it was. So I just listened to Ian, Molly and Steve talking. Ian was telling Steve what was still to come. Ian and Molly waved us off again. After Skelwith Bridge it’s a long flat section trying my best to run it I was struggling at this point. I was still running but then I had to walk. We walked by the cave and down the hill onto a cobble path, then you come to the Wainwrights Inn pub where there was a head torch holding a gate opened it was Molly again to see Steve, I said I was really struggling and she gave me a hug and told me I was doing great. I was getting emotional now. We carried one to Chapel Stile, I was having a wee cry to myself and Steve laughed, gave me a hug and made me start running again to the check point that we could see lit up in the distance.

Chapel Stile was airline themed, brilliant! I got some cake here and one of the marshals asked me if I wanted custard with it, he said I wasnt very Scottish as I turned down the custard haha, the thought of it was making me hit the boke (wretch).
This place really cheered me up, someone said I was doing amazing and it almost set me off again! Such a nice woman, she bakes the famous brownies. I had a couple they were great! Cup of tea and coffee, off we went again. Over the fields towards the next hill, over some stiles and it was time to climb up the hill, took ages! Once at the top there was some people standing in the rain cheering people on again! Madness!

We went through the woods and on the way to the unmanned dibber, they had put some sticks out with reflective ribbon on which was really handy, bog, bog, bog. Just squeltching our way through it, there was a few of us all following. There was a man standing holding the dibber for us, I said thank you for standing out for us. All I could hear were my shoes, full of water haha. Looked on and in the distance you could see head torches “oh yeah, forgot about that hill” so we got to the next hill knowing Tilberthwaite was just on the other side. Up and over, there was a few of us sticking together cause it was dark.

In the distance you could see the green glow sticks of the steps at Tilberthwaite and head torches snaking their way up the hill. It looked so big!! Went into the checkpoint and paid my pound that I had carried all the way from the start. Loads of food here to have, I had some jelly babies and spotted melon, yum!!

I went to the loo, grabbed a cup of tea and off we went up the steps. I said to Steve to carry on without me as I was knackered I knew he wanted under 16 hours and I was not going to be the one to hold someone back from getting that. Ian and I had planned for 17 hours. I didn’t think of this plan, I just went with how I felt. So I was on my own, but not really on my own as there was so many head torches!

I shuffled my way along here, over the bogs. I thought I was stepping on a stone at one point, whoosh my foot went right in. Least it wasn’t too far from the end. I over took some people here also shuffling along. There was a guy up there with his dog and he said, “if you run down now you’ll be finished in 20 minutes” Music to my ears even though I knew that it wasn’t far. So I shimmied my way down, there was a couple infront of me going a wee bit too slow, slow that it was hurting my knees being behind them. I squeezed by and shuffled my way down then once I was on the tarmac I was getting emotional again knowing that I was so close. There was some marshals at the bottom to guide you across the road. I was running and running round the corner and that was it, I was at the top finish straight. I turned my head torch off so that Ian would be able to see me. I spotted him and shouted again.

Finished. I dibbed in and stopped my watch.

Ian gave me a big hug and I burst into tears. Then a marshal came to take me into the tent. I said how I was tired and he called me a Lakeland Legend and then asked me if I was ready to go in. He rang his cow bell and shouted “Lakeland 50 finisher” and everyone cheered and I burst out crying again haha! Received my medal and then got my finishers photo.

Got my weight band and tracker cut off and Steve and Molly gave me a hug and I thanked them both.

Ian hugged me again and told me I smelled, top gent. We went and got my finishers food, I got some rice. I really didnt fancy the chilli. I just wanted some fizzy juice and to get back to the BnB for a shower and get my pyjamas on.

Could not be happier with my time, 15 hours, 26 minutes and 36 seconds.